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UMass arrests 35 in RA sitin for union recognition

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UMass arrests 35 in RA sitin for union recognition


Published 2002


April 29, 2002 - More than a dozen student activists occupy UMass Amherst Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Javier Cevallos' office, echoing the successful living-wage sit-in at Harvard.

Unlike the 3 week occupation at Harvard, UMass felt no compulsion to negotiate and removed the activists hog-tied with plastic handcuffs within about three hours, and down the stairs on stretchers. UMass police have purchased a former INS bus for just such festive occasions.

The video ends as the last of the dozen sit-in activists are arrested, including camera and cameraperson. The camera and videotape were held for more than 4 months by police.

The day's story continues outside, in the cold April drizzle, as police are forced to arrest more than 20 more students in a spontaneous blockade of the bus, making it the largest mass arrest at UMass since the Vietnam War thirty years earlier.

Ultimately, UMass is forced to negotiate with the RA union, and UAW Local 2322 becomes the first in the nation to represent undergraduate workers at a public university.

July 31, 2002
UMass Amherst, UAW Issue Joint Announcement on RAs
http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/archive/2002/073102raunion.html
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts Amherst and United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2322 announced today that they have reached an agreement to begin collective bargaining of a contract that would cover the resident assistants and community development assistants in the University's residence halls. The resident assistants (RAs) voted to unionize on March 5, 2002, and the state labor relations commission certified the results of the election, but the University had refused to bargain with the union and had asked the labor commission to reconsider their certification.

.................................
Boston Globe
UMass sit-in ends with 34 arrests

Resident assistants press labor dispute with administration

By Andrew C. Helman, Globe Correspondent, 4/30/2002

A group of 34 students and union activists were arrested at the
University of Massachusetts at Amherst yesterday after they staged a sit-in to
protest the school's refusal to bargain with the fledgling resident assistants
union, said Barbara Pitoniak, university spokeswoman.
At 12:30 p.m., 15 protesters swarmed into the office of the vice
chancellor for student affairs and another 75 pickets gathered outside the
administration building, university officials and students said.

The protesters were trying to force the university to bargain with
the 360-member resident assistants union, which became the first of its kind
in the nation when it formed in March.

The university maintains that RAs are an integral part of the
education process and should not be unionized.

Yesterday as protesters chanted ''union power, union power,'' and
vowed to occupy the vice chancellor's office until the university submitted
to their demands, police moved in.

Fourteen of the 15 went limp, forcing police to remove them on
stretchers, according to university officials.As police brought
the protesters onto a bus, another group sat inthe road,
locking arms and blocking the way.

Police made 19 more arrests. Those arrested are expected to be
charged with trespassing and resisting arrest, said UMass police
spokesman Jim Lyons.

''We are sitting in here for our own beliefs, I guess, until either
the university bargains with us or sets a date to bargain with us or
until the police come in and take us out,'' said Angela
Zammarelli, 20, a junior resident assistant reached by cellphone
during the sit-in yesterday.

''It's sad that in a time that they are cutting different
departments on campus > they are spending money fighting the union.''

Union members filed 13 unfair labor practice charges against the
university last month, one of which sought to force the
university to bargainwith the group. While the Massachusetts
Labor Relations Commission reviews the charges, university
officials have said they will not bargain with the union
regardless of the commission's ruling.
''As you know the university has taken a position on this and has
refused to bargain,'' Pitoniak said.

This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on 4/30/2002.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Globe article and alert about the 35 arrests:
UMASS ARRESTS 35 AT UNION DIRECT ACTION http://www.louisville.edu/journal/workplace/issue5/umassarrests.html


Run time 1hr
Audio/Visual sound, color

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